FAQs After Oral Surgery Washington

Answers to Common Questions Following Oral Surgery in Seattle, Bellevue, Federal Way, & Woodinville WA

Have Other Questions About What Happens After Oral Surgery?

How long should I keep pressure on the gauze?

Before you left our office we made sure that the bleeding was under control. We do recommend you leaving the gauze over the Surgery site for at least 30-45 minutes after you arrive home. Bite down with firm pressure during that time. Then gently remove the gauze. If bright red blood flows from the Surgery area, put a clean piece of moistened gauze in your mouth and again bite down with firm pressure for another 30-45 minutes. After that, bleeding should have eased. A pink tinge to your saliva is normal and may continue for a day or two.

What should I do if I still notice blood on the gauze?

Remain calm. Have you been keeping FIRM CONTINUOUS pressure on the gauze? If not, do so for 30 more minutes. Do not talk or spit. Remain at rest during this time. You might try using a moistened tea bag wrapped in gauze on the surgery site. Tea bags contain tannic acid, which promotes clotting. Remove the bag and gauze after 30-45 minutes.

What should I do if I feel nauseous?

Pain medication may cause some mild stomach upset. That is why we suggest you drink a milk product before your first dose of medication.

What can I do to relieve pain?

Begin taking prescribed pain medication as soon as possible after surgery. We recommend that you first eat something to alleviate nausea that pain medication can cause. Continue taking the medication on the prescribed schedule for the first day or two. After that time, take pain medication as needed in accordance with prescribed directions.

How long will my recovery take? When can I return to work or to my normal routine?

You have undergone significant surgery and your body needs time to recover. Plan at least three or four days to rest from normal activity; no strenuous activity is allowed. How quickly you recover depends on how you cooperate with your body’s healing process (resting, drinking liquids, taking your medications, avoiding hard foods and vigorous chewing, rinsing gently, etc.). By following these guidelines, you will minimize complications such as infection and the breakdown of the blood clot (“dry socket”) and return to your routine more quickly.

I have pain three to four weeks after an extraction. What should I do?

Typically, this indicates some type of a localized infection. Please call our office, so we can evaluate this and recommend appropriate treatment.

My lip (and / or tongue) feels numb. What does this mean?

Numbness of the lip, tongue, gums, teeth etc. is a common occurrence after lower jaw surgery. It is usually caused by some type of irritation to the nerves involved and over 90% of the time resolves within a few days or weeks. Occasionally, it may take longer to resolve. Fortunately, it is just a feeling sensation and does not cause a muscle weakness. It is however, important for you to have us evaluate this so appropriate recommendations can be made.

I had surgery this morning and one of my stitches already came out, is this OK?

Yes, in most instances, the stitches are placed at the time of surgery simply to assist with initial control of bleeding and clot formation. This is especially true with wisdom tooth surgery and other tooth extractions. Thus, loss of a stitch is not considered an emergency, even if it occurs on the day of surgery. If your surgeon has performed a non-extraction procedure like bone-grafting and the stitches are coming out prematurely, please contact our office so that the doctor may determine whether or not you need to be seen on that day.

How long do the holes in my jaw stay after extractions?

The “holes” or better, extraction sockets will generally close within 6 weeks. It will take several months for the sockets to actually fill with bone. If food gets trapped in the socket area, be sure to clean it with the water syringe provided by our office.

I have terrible bad breath after the surgery. Does this mean I have an infection?

No. The bad breath may be caused by food getting into the socket area. Be sure to keep the surgery site clean and this should resolve.

What kinds of foods can I eat after having oral surgery?

On the day of the surgery, cool and soft food is recommended, such as applesauce, cottage cheese, or yogurt. Hot foods may disturb initial clot formation in the extraction sites. Following the day of the surgery, it’s best to avoid crunchy foods such as popcorn, nuts, and potato chips which break up into little pieces and can get packed down into the extraction sites. If you had dental implants placed, please avoid chewing hard foods with the implant itself for 6 weeks or the healing of the implant will be compromised.

How soon after the general anesthesia can I drive?

You should not drive a motor vehicle or operate dangerous machinery for 24 hours after your procedure. This time is necessary to allow your body to metabolize the anesthetic agents.

When can I eat on the side of my mouth that the bone graft was placed?

For 6 weeks, limit your diet to soft foods and avoid chewing on the side of the bone graft.

I had a tooth removed and bone placed in the tooth socket, and now I see a hole with white material. What is that?

When we place bone in a tooth socket after extraction (socket preservation), we also place a white sheet of material over it to provide protection. This initially protects the bone and then dissolves and is replaced by your native gum tissue. This event occurs 3 to 5 days after the extraction, leaving a crater-like appearance in the tooth socket. This is normal. Be sure to eat on the opposite side, and do not hesitate to call if you have any questions.

For more information about what happens after oral surgery or to schedule a consultation with Drs. Guo or Christie, call our office in Bellevue, WA at Bellevue Office Phone Number 425-453-6975.